The Seven Crystal Balls
by Hergé (Casterman, 1948); trans. Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper & Michael Turner (Methuen, 1962)
Working during the German occupation of Belgium, Hergé steered clear of political commentary and showcased instead his developing mastery of action adventure, leavened here with an abundance of slapstick (and not a little Fortean mysticism). Part one of a classic two-story arc.